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Jon wuebben

Jon Wuebben is the CEO of Content Launch, which offers the first content marketing software built for small and medium sized businesses (SMB’s) and digital agencies. Content Launch also provides content writing and content strategy services for hundreds of companies and digital agencies. His book, "Content is Currency: Developing Powerful Content for Web & Mobile", helps businesses learn how to plan, create, distribute and manage content. "Content is Currency" has been published in six countries worldwide.


Jon has spoken at Content Marketing World, Online Marketing Summit, South by Southwest (SXSW), Marketing Profs B2B Forum, Search Marketing Expo (SMX), Social Media Marketing World, New Media Expo, Intelligent Content Conference, Content Marketing Retreat, Lavacon, ADMA (Australia), BIA Kelsey Small Business Forum, the Media Relations Summit and for many organizations, including Hubspot, Intuit, the American Marketing Association and Shop.org as well as industry groups in the areas of content marketing, mobile marketing and entrepreneurship. He has been listed as a thought leader in the content marketing space by countless publications since 2008.


Find out more at contentlaunch.com

AI for Marketing: Check this Out!

Only a generation ago, artificial intelligence (AI) was just a fantasy, something to be read about in science fiction stories. Today, AI is increasingly becoming a tool that we use in our daily lives. Although we don’t yet all have smart homes that clean themselves or cook dinner for us, the technology is fast becoming available. If you think about tools such as the Amazon Echo and Google’s Home, you can easily see how much AI has already begun to become embedded in our lives.

How Can Marketers Begin to Use AI as a Marketing Channel?

The internet introduced technology that makes it easy to search for any topic. Search engines such as Google are now the primary method that most people use to discover news, shop and learn about the world. However, this avenue of seeking information is broadening rapidly. We first saw the advantage of search engines using text as information. However, in the last several years, search has expanded to video (YouTube) and images (Pinterest and Instagram). Sites that promote video and image files have overtaken traditional search especially with the advent of mobile technology.

Mobile technology then added the ability to use voice controls to search with Apple’s Seri and Microsoft’s Cortana. Now, you can use Seri and Cortana on desktop and mobile devices.

The New Girl on the Block

The next step in search was taken by Amazon with the introduction of Echo and Alexa. When this happened, AI was able to enter our homes. This advance allows people to search using AI directly in conjunction with Amazon and other search channels.

Now marketers have a whole new channel to explore. It is clear that Alexa will continue to develop and connect with other search channels. In addition to video and text, marketers need to determine how audio files can reach their clients. What AI adds to audio technology is the interactive ability. Alexa generally answers commands and queries that are presented as we go about our daily lives. As the program learns more about you, it can better respond to your queries and commands. That’s AI in action!

Keywords

It is clear that keywords and customer personas become increasingly important as AI continues to develop. Knowing your current clients and prospects well will help you interact with AI users. In fact, the more intimate knowledge you have of your customers, the better you will be able to weed out poor prospects and qualify good ones.

New Technology

The iPhone X and Pixel 2 are soon to be available to customers with some AI features. We will continue to see these types of developments. Marketers who learn to take advantage of AI as another channel will find it to be a great way of reaching Millennials and later generations as they become adept at using AI as a resource for search. Personalization is very effective with AI. AI can also reinforce marketing seen on other channels including video and text. Current channels such as social media will also improve the ability to personalize marketing as AI is added.

 

8 Most Popular Content Marketing Questions of All Time

There are many different types of marketing strategies you can use to promote and advertise your business. One of the most effective is content marketing. Content marketing isn’t a new concept but many people have questions about what it is and how it works.

The following questions are some of the most frequently asked.

  1. What is content marketing? Content marketing uses quality content in the form of blogs, videos, graphics and other types of content to build a relationships with your target audience.
  2. How well do you know your target audience? In order for your content to be effective, you must know as much as possible about the audience you are trying to connect with. Age, gender, lifestyle, and interests are only a few of the things you need to research.
  3. How do you determine your target audience? In order for you to identify your target audience, you will need to learn as much as you can through analytics, statistics, and other research tools that are designed to help track the traffic that is drawn to your website.
  4. What is your “brand voice”? The tone of your content will set your “voice”. Whether it be sarcastic, humorous, or witty, once it’s been established, continue to keep your voice consistent.
  5. How do you know if your marketing strategy is working? There are several ways to determine whether or not your marketing strategy is working. Is your content generating new leads? Are you seeing an increased return on your investment? Ask new customers how they heard about your business. If it’s from your content or something you’ve done to generate new leads, then your strategy is working effectively.
  6. What are the benefits of content marketing? Content serves two main purposes, to educate potential and current customers about something they are interested in and to intrigue them enough to follow through and actually purchase your product or service.
  7. How do content marketing and social media differ? Content marketing encourages you to consume information and then act on what you’ve learned. Social media encourages the audience to participate in some way by engaging with another person or contacting the company directly. While both are effective, content marketing is more informative and relies more on the quality and integrity of the company.
  8. How much content do you need to generate on a regular basis? If you plan on using content marketing, it’s extremely important to remain consistent. While blogs or videos don’t have to be large or extravagant, they should be posted regularly so that customers can make it a habit of returning at the same time each week or day to view your latest blog.

If you plan on using content marketing as part of your branding strategy, learn as much as you can. Research the benefits as well as the drawbacks so that you understand what content marketing is, and especially what it is not. Take the initiative and try your hand at creating your own unique content. Use your “voice” and allow it to speak for the company. Make it personable and share your company with the customers you are trying to attract.

7 Awesome Ways to Promote an Ebook or White Paper

Your ebook or white paper is of no use if no one ever sees it, downloads it and/or shares it. Here are a few ways you can get others to see it and take an interest in your content.

Blog for Leads

When you blog about your topic, you can do more than just let people know that you have an ebook or white paper available. You also have the opportunity to get more leads through your blog and to build an email list. Many marketers count their email list as their most important asset for gaining customers, and your blog is the ideal place to get more of them to sign up.

Create a Webinar

By giving some of your information in a webinar, you can interest people in the rest of what you have to say. Create an informative video that lets people find out more about what you know on the topic. Then, offer the white paper or ebook at the end as a more in-depth look at the information. This markets it to people who are already interested enough to see the webinar.

Engage in Effective Content Marketing

Creating a website full of content is a great way to bring in readers and let them see that you’re an expert on the topic. Give them access to regularly updated content that brings them in regularly, and they will keep coming back for more. Offering them more information in your ebook or white paper gives them another way to access this information and to find out more about the topic.

Use Paid Ads

Using PPC ads or fixed ads is an effective way to market your work. The ad systems that exist on sites like Facebook and Twitter bring in large numbers of readers, and they are highly targeted toward people who are already interested in the topic of your white paper or ebook. This type of marketing is also lower cost than many other forms of advertising.

Create Guest Posts

Guest posting on blogs that center on your topic add to your readership. And when you post links to your content at the end of your post, you bring in readers who have already read the post from you and see you as an expert on the topic. This also helps you to build backlinks to your content and help its search engine ranking.

Use Video Marketing

In addition to a webinar, creating a YouTube channel where you regularly post short videos about your topic is a useful way to build your audience. Your content can be linked to in the description area of each video. Many people use YouTube for informational videos, and building up your channel will add to your reputation as well as awareness of your content.

Get Reviews

Getting honest reviews of your white paper or ebook can help others to find out about it and to see that it is actively being read. You can do this by soliciting reviews from those who have downloaded it. You can also offer it to bloggers and ask for their reviews in order to build a strong selection of content reviews.

As your reputation grows, your brand grows. Use multiple marketing channels to create more awareness for what you have to offer, and you will see those downloads increase.

Serializing Your Content Like a Soap Opera….Keep Them Coming Back for More!

Game of Thrones obviously is an extremely popular cable TV show, but the title or genre alone is not what makes the storyline so popular. There have been plenty of fantasy and science fiction movies and shows that have flopped. So what is it that makes the Thrones show so appealing?

One aspect is very good story-writing, however, the second key element is what is known as serializing the content. This is not a new idea; stringing out a storyline along a number of episodes is an age-old tool to keep bringing audiences back for more. And no TV genre is more famous for it than soap operas. Yes, those lovey-dovey daytime TV series are emblematic of the successful story that never ends.

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The Key to Success

The key to serializing content, whether it be for a website, comic book or a TV show, is to first write a good, compelling story that can be fragmented, i.e. broken up into sections. This involves multiple layers.

First, there is the over-arching general story line, the one that basically says, “these two characters must face lots of challenges and travel from point A to point B or the world will end.” It’s not that simplistic, but the over-arching layer is the umbrella that guides all the detail added beneath, a bit like the skeleton provides an infrastructure for the body and muscles.

The second layer is the sub-plot, which can actually have multiple sub-plots. These are mini-stories that live underneath the over-arching layer and begin and end in much shorter time spans. However, woven together they provide the richness and diversity of characters for the main theme.

All the Little Things

Then comes all the little details and window pieces that flesh out each episode or chapter within the story framework. This can be quite extensive, includes lots of detail and characters, and essentially makes each moment interesting and flavorful. However, every one of them is there on purpose adding to some small aspect of the overall story; nothing is by accident.

Once this entire lattice is built, it’s time to break it up into segments that cause an audience to come back for the next segment. The timing of where a content break occurs to create episodes and the serializing effect is a skill and comes with experience. It generally must be a point where the audience has enough content to feel satisfied that paying attention was worth the time but missing just enough to want more.

Knowing the Cut Off Point

There is no default cutoff point for every story because each content segment is unique. A content writer has to develop a “feel” for where the right cutoff point is, like a page break in a digital document, and that comes with practice. Once learned, it can be extremely powerful content delivery effect and one that actually causes audience sizes to grow exponentially, as HBO has seen with Game of Thrones.

Finally, there should be a way for new late addition audience members to catch up with everyone else. So, a valuable part of serializing content is to provide past material for easy access. Many content providers forget that audience attraction is fluid and happens over time. Providing past access is a key way to continue to build interest while current members stay up to date.

If you’re looking for a platform to help you, check out our content marketing software.

 

 

Scaling Your Content Marketing Operation

If you consider your content as a business asset, it helps you when thinking forward to scaling your content marketing operation. Rather than just brainstorming topics, writing and hitting publish, a forward-thinking strategy puts into place not only the current content, but how it will build on past content and become a foundation for future content. A well-formed content strategy creates a framework for your message to develop and grow.

Having the process in place to be replicated takes much of the stress out of your content creation system. If you know how to repeat a process, then working to fill the process with valuable content is easier to do.

Structures

Having structures in place to keep your content marketing moving forward is essential. Structures such as style and brand guidelines, a dedicated content production team, a workflow process for creating and delivering content, customer personas and analytics to track performance are important to allow your content to become scalable.

Style and Brand Guidelines

Guidelines are how a company keeps their message and branding clean and united. All content should follow the same guidelines offering a consistent image of the company and message. Without guidelines, your message becomes diluted and distracting instead of unified.

A Content Production Team

A content team is needed for scalability whether you have an in-house team, use contractors or both. A consistent team, together with a great workflow process will produce quality content that can be scaled easily.

Formal Workflow Process

To make the acts of planning, creating and delivering consistent content, a formal process needs to be instituted. The formal process takes the stress of timelines away and replaces it with a set workflow to keep the “production line” flowing on schedule.

Customer Personas

Although content marketing used to be created with vague target markets in mind, increasingly sophisticated search engines now require more focused and personalized content. Customer personas give content creators a laser-focused target with personality and behavior embedded. It makes writing content easier for the writer and better suited for the newest type of search engines including those that use artificial intelligence techniques.

Performance Analytics

Once content has been published, it is critical to determine how well it is performing through the examination of analytics. Most content channels have the ability to track numerous metrics which can help marketers hone in on what works and what doesn’t. Once content is proven to be successful, scaling the successful content offers the best results.

Message Framework

When it comes to branding, message consistency is all-important. Keeping your company’s voice focused, offering a consistent message along with specifically chosen images gives people a clear idea of who you are.

Taxonomies

Taxonomies are how you organize your content. Organization makes scalability possible because customers can always find the appropriate content if it is organized well. It also allows content creators to continually build on older content categories. A good example is blog categories. A blogger can write about several topics over time, but link related posts together in categories that readers can look back on for additional resources. This type of organization makes scaling much easier.

If you’re looking for a platform to help you, check out our content marketing software.

 

 

 

5 Steps for Creating Personas

A buyer persona is basically a characterization of your company’s perfect customer. It represents a compilation of many of the features you find across the board within your target demographic. You should have a few different ones. You want to identify a specific buyer type when it comes to men, women, different age groups, and individuals who fall into different financial brackets.

Start With the Basics

Build a basic profile that includes general information such as age, gender, and location. Choose industry-related information that includes types of employment, yearly income, and a more defined age group. By starting with the most basic information, you can build a persona in one of many different directions. This allows you to be more diverse when creating campaign strategies.

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Examine Current Customer Profiles

The best source of information is in your current customer files. By taking the best parts of each customer profile, you can create the perfect persona, the fictional person you can cater to whenever you are trying to plan or create a new marketing campaign. Go through your customer profiles and identify the qualities and characteristics that keep showing up across the board. Combining those into one persona will embody the target audience you are looking to reach.

Survey Current Customers and Referrals

Use surveys to collect information from existing customers as well as people who are referred to you. You can also include surveys on your website for individuals who are curious about your company. The information you collect will help point you toward both the positive and negative characteristics that will influence your persona’s decision to buy. Surveys may also point to new trends when it comes to finding out what your current employees will be looking for in the future.

Identify Potential Barriers and Issues

To make your persona as accurate as possible, you need to identify the negatives as well as the positives. The barriers and challenges you find will provide you with insight on how your products should be improved. Knowing what turns a customer off is the first step in avoiding the triggers that will eventually drive them in the opposite direction. It will also tell you if the negatives are associated with one aspect of the persona, such as age or gender. 

Include Both Positive and Negative

Find a happy medium. When building your ideal persona, balance the positive with the negative so you know exactly where to focus your branding and campaign resources. If you are looking to create multiple personas, make sure to make each one a unique combination so that you will be able to produce a quality campaign that is directed toward that particular demographic.

The buying persona or personas that you create will help you strengthen your advertising and marketing campaigns so that you get the most bang for your buck. Your personas are basically a cross-section sampling of your current and potential clients. Update them often and refer back to them whenever you see a change in marketing trends. They will hold the clues you need to remain attractive to your target demographic. 

If you’re looking for a platform to help you, check out our content marketing software.

5 Keys to Telling Stories With Marketing Content

Content marketing is an effective approach to not only growing an audience, but building the business itself. Of course, it’s very competitive and unforgiving since there is so much great content out there now. If you want to survive and thrive with your content, you need to develop your writing skills. Storytelling is an inescapable component of content marketing, and mastery will help determine your success. These six keys for better story telling will help you write better content and incorporate it correctly into your overall marketing plan.

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Be Honest

People can see right through your thinly veiled marketing attempts. Pandering and insincerity will be spotted and lambasted every time. Just think of a few Twitter faux pas from the last week, and you’ll see what I mean. Content stories are a chance to relate to customers to draw them to the brand. It will only work if you honestly meet them on genuine common ground.

Get Personal

Working in tandem with that honesty is a personal presentation. Brand stories are not advertisements. They are open communication with an audience. Allowing some vulnerability and real connections are what truly drive the success of storytelling marketing. Remember: the brand is ultimately made of people, and it is with those people that your customers will connect.

Add Character

When you are willing to get personal, you can tap into the aspects of storytelling that are the most compelling. Namely, you are developing a relatable character. Whether your stories are true or fun fictions, the characters in those stories must be presented in the right way. They should have relatable goals, realistic flaws and a real-world outlook on their situation.

Show, Don’t Tell

This is perhaps the oldest and most commonly told bit of wisdom in the art of storytelling. Yet, it is also the most frequently overlooked. When telling marketing stories, there’s an innate desire to include all of the necessary information. You want the audience to clearly see how the story relates to your brand and how they can benefit. This is a classic mistake. You don’t need to paint the background before you begin the story. Instead, start in the middle of a scene and let the details naturally reveal themselves through events and dialogue.

Don’t Sell

This is not an advertisement. This is not an advertisement. Really, this is not an advertisement. Chant that in your head if you must as long as you remember the purpose of content marketing. The stories are not supposed to convert sales. They are supposed to drive traffic and engage the audience. The stories build a relationship. You have other tools and resources to convert sales out of that relationship.

Leave Them Wanting More

Think of the most compelling books you’ve ever read. Every chapter probably concluded with a bit of a cliffhanger. You simply had to turn the next page. The best content websites do the same. Many of the sites you’ve wasted hours scrolling end each list with recommendations for more you might like. Even Wikipedia can get you lost in a sea of interesting new information. The trick is to always offer more than the readers get. Any story can be self-contained and complete, but it should never quite be fully satisfying. If you can’t pull that off, then recommend a few more compelling links at the end of each piece of content.

So how are you telling your stories? Whats worked for your company? We’d love to hear about it!

If you’re looking for a platform to help you, check out our content marketing software 😉

Where is Your Company at With Your Content Marketing Operation?

 

where-is-your-company-at-with-your-content-marketing-operationWe all know someone who suffers from Peter Pan Syndrome, even if it’s a celebrity, reality star or musician who refuses to grow up. Becoming self-aware and accepting responsibility for your own success is a coming of age that heralds you into adulthood, kicking and screaming at times. Now take what you know about the Peter Pan Syndrome and apply it to today’s content marketers. You might be surprised to find that there is a connection between the two in terms of how marketing departments evolve over time. Some are simply unable to mature, uneasy about accountability or unwilling to shift away from unsustainable marketing practices. What’s the story with your company?

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A Few Important Laws of Content Marketing

 

Laws-of-content-marketingIf you’re new to content marketing, you’re probably coming to realize that getting a full, complete grasp of the concepts is somewhat complex. It’s not that the new world of advertising is difficult to understand; it’s just that there’s a lot to know. Content creation, sharing, distributing, reviewing analytics and content marketing software are just a few of the components that you’ll have to get used to as part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy. Plus, very few of the traditional marketing theories still apply in this realm so you can’t draw too much from prior experience.

Whether you’re getting your feet wet or maybe need a nice refresher course, here are a few laws of content marketing to always keep in mind.

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